Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ski-ing: gateway to other pleasures

How could Keats write “Pale, latticed, chill and silent as a tomb.” having stared gloomily into his handkerchief? Perhaps because his handkerchief often got the upper hand: “And beard them, though they be more fanged than wolves or bears.” Verb. sap.

Cooking can qualify for Works Well via chemistry. Here the justification is DIY. The setting: a self-catering ski-ing holiday at Sestrière. Dramatis personae: BB and his then son-in-law. The task: creation of escalope de veau à la Zagreb from rolled-up veal, ham and cheese. The problem: despite pummelling with a wine bottle the veal refused to expand sufficiently to contain the other constituents. The solution: open up the hussif (a must on ski-ing holidays), equip a large eyed needle with linen thread, suture the veal.

Deep frying is recommended but, lacking oil, we shallow fried. As this was happening we were visited by a bouncy young woman from the ski holiday company who said, “That smells nice.” I mumbled the French phrase and she nodded: “I am impressed. Sounds as if it would be good to eat.” A pause that could only be described as pregnant developed. But we had done the work and both of us, without reference to the other, hardened our hearts against an invitation to share.

Would a woman have sutured the veal? My instinct is to say no. But this is no male supremacy kick. A woman would have been better informed as we were, the following morning, after we explained things to the butcher. “If you’d only told me I would have rendered it flattened (aplati) with this,” he said, waving his pointy-faced wooden mallet.

2 comments:

The Crow said...

We likely wouldn't have sutured, though bravo for your ingenuity; tied it off in several places, yes.

Of course, I speak only for myself. An aunt in New Orleans taught me how to execute a roulade - not too loose and not too tight, but just right. (Roulade must have been invented by Goldilocks.)
Martha

Barrett Bonden said...

The linen thread crispened during the frying, making it easier to remove the sutures. I wrote the piece in an attempt to illustrate the different ways men and women approach cooking and had in mind the scene in The Apartment where Jack Lemmon shows Shirley MacLaine how to strain pasta with a tennis racket. As to roulades - there you're moving out of my league.